An Introduction to Intercultural Communication: Identities in a Global Community Ninth Edition
Why Study Intercultural Communication?
When a student asks, “What is this class about?” I have two answers. If it’sa short hallway conversation I say something like “to learn to become a moreeffective communicator with peoples of diverse cultural backgrounds.” If wehave time for a sit-down discussion, I start by talking about identities—theidentities each of us accepts to be known by in the world. We then discusswhat goes with that identity—everything from what we wear, to the languagewe speak, to the values we use to guide our behavior. It then becomesobvious that diverse identities can be at the root of many communication barriers. At this point students see the broader challenges and raise theissues of immigration, treatment of women, clash of religions and terrorism,corporate influence over local cultures, and countries exerting unwelcomeinfluence over other countries.
In order to live, work, and play in an increasingly interconnected andinterdependent world, we all need to communicate effectively with people ofdiverse cultural backgrounds. We need to be aware of how our language andnonverbal communications might be understood by people whose frame of reference is different than ours. We also need to understand how thehistorical relationships between cultures inform how they interact today.The aim of this book is to equip students with the knowledge and skills tobe competent and confident intercultural communicators. In each chapter thebook guides students through key concepts and helps readers connectintercultural competence to their own life experiences in order to increaseunderstanding.
The core objectives of this book have not changed with the ninth edition: Wecontinue to promote the skills of intercultural competence by developing anunderstanding of cultures to better appreciate the opportunities andchallenges each culture presents to its people, developing a betterunderstanding of how people become who they are, becoming less threatened bythose of different backgrounds, and becoming better able to select andperform communication behaviors appropriate to various settings.
What I strive to do is to provide information that is balanced and up-to-datein a manner that is accessible and interesting. It has been my objectivefrom the first edition of this book to make it readable, engaging, andthought provoking while at the same time flexible enough to supportindividual instructors’ approaches to the content theories.
After reading thisbook, students will become effective intercultural communicators bydeveloping the following skills and knowledge:•expanding the range of verbal and nonverbal communicationskills•becoming able to communicate effectively in unfamiliar settings•recognizing the influence our own culture has had on the way inwhich we view ourselves•expanding knowledge of different cultural traditions
It has been my pleasure to have worked with thousands of studentsface-to-face and online through the years. I consider this book’s readers tobe part of that group and have received many questions and comments fromthem via e-mail that have helped improve each edition. Thank you for readingthis book and for participating in this learning community to appreciate andto become more effective in intercultural encounters.
New to the Ninth Edition
The world has changed dramatically in the past few years: Attitudes towardimmigration and refugees, attitudes toward gender identifications, awarenessof social class identity, and awareness of religious identity are just a fewof the changes our society has experienced in recent years. This editionaddresses these shifts throughout the text.
As before, the major regulators of human life—religion, nation, class,gender, race, and civilization—are the core themes that run throughout thebook. Chapter content is up-to-date with current
international developments and communication challenges. Each chapter alsoincludes materials on social media.
Many of the most successful features from previous editions—those that reallyenhance student engagement and learning—are still here, updated for the newedition. These include the following:•Focus on Skills boxes that challenge students to apply thekey concepts they have learned in each chapter to a “real-life” intercultural communication scenario•Focus on Technology features that explore contemporaryexamples of intercultural communication on the Internet, socialmedia, and mobile devices•Focus on Theory boxes that call students’ attention tocommunication theories•Focus on Culture features, which help students understandcultural practices within their own and other cultures•Global Voices boxes that use brief, provocative quotes tointroduce students to a range of perspectives on globalintercultural communication•Learning Objectives at the start of each chapter thatidentify what students should expect to know or be able to do afterengaging with the chapter material•Charts, graphics, and photos that convey information in avisually engaging way•Maps that help readers better understand thegeographical and cultural locales discussed•Case studies of specific cultures that connect key conceptsto real-world examples•Discussion Questions that spark in-class conversation andencourage students to reflect critically on what they have learnedin each chapter•Glossary with Key Terms highlighted in eachchapter•Readings at the end of each chapter that connect the chapterto resources in Intercultural Communication: A GlobalReader, which may be used alongside this text
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